Rho Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa

ΦΒΚ — pΦpιλοσοφiα Βiου Κυβερνiτης (philosophia biou kybernetes)
"Love of learning is the guide of life."

Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most prestigious academic honor society in the United States.  Phi Beta Kappa celebrates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, serving as the nation's leading advocate for freedom of inquiry and expression, disciplinary rigor, breadth of intellectual perspective, the cultivation of skills of deliberation and ethical reflection, the pursuit of wisdom, and the application of the fruits of scholarship and research in practical life.  The Phi Beta Kappa Society sponsors activities to advance these studies — the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences — in higher education and in society at large. 

The Rho Chapter of California was established at California State University, Long Beach in 1977. CSULB is one of 22 colleges and universities in California -- and only one of three in the California State University system -- to be granted a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.  Our inclusion in this selective group of institutions is a testament to our university's excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. 

Only the most outstanding arts and sciences students at America’s leading colleges and universities are invited to join the Society. In fact, there are only 276 Phi Beta Kappa chapters across the United States.  In the nearly 225 year of its existence, those chapters have selectively inducted approximately 500,000 members. 

  • Seventeen U.S. Presidents were Phi Beta Kappa members, including Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Harry S. Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, and John Quincy Adams.
  • Nearly all of the current and recent Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court are members of Phi Beta Kappa, including Chief Justices John G. Roberts, William H. Rehnquist, and Earl Warren.  Current and recent ΦBK Associate Justices include Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Samuel Alito, Stephen Bryer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David H. Souter, Anthony Kennedy, John Paul Stevens, Lewis Franklin Powell, Harry A. Blackmun, Byron R. White, Potter Stewart, and William O. Douglas.

Some of Phi Beta Kappa’s other famous members include:

  • Jeff Bezos
    Founder of Amazon.com
  • Glenn Close
    Emmy and Tony Award Winning Actress
  • Francis Ford Coppola
    Vintner; Oscar Winning Director, Producer, and Screenwriter
  • Michael Crichton
    Physician; Author; and Emmy Winning Director, Screenwriter, and Producer
  • Henry Louis Gates
    Scholar; Cultural and Literary Critic
  • Tom Brokaw
    Author and Broadcast Journalist
  • Eli Whitney
    Early American Businessman and Inventor
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    Essayist, Philosopher, and Poet
  • Eileen Collins
    Space Shuttle Commander
  • Kris Kristofferson
    Musician, Composer, Lyricist, and Actor
  • John Marshall
    Early-American Statesman and Formative Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne
    Novelist and Short Story Writer
  • Betty Friedan
    Author, Social Activist, and Co-Founder of the National Organization for Women
  • Richard Posner
    Legal Scholar and Educator; Judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; "Father" of the Law and Economic Movement
  • Benazir Bhutto
    Social Activist and Former Prime Minister of Pakistan
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes
    Physician, Poet, Legal Scholar, Historian, and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Jonas Salk
    Medical Researcher who Developed the First Polio Vaccine
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    Educator and Poet
  • Pearl S. Buck
    Author, Humanitarian, and Nobel Laureate for Literature
  • Leonard Bernstein
    Tony and Grammy Winning Composer and Conductor; Civil Rights Activist
  • Angela Davis
    Scholar and Political Activist
  • W.E.B. DuBois
    Scholar and Civil Rights Activist
  • Helen Keller
    Author and Social Activist
  • Gloria Steinem
    Author; Social Activist; Co-Founder and Publisher of Ms.Magazine
  • Nadine Strossen
    Constitutional Law Scholar and Civil Liberties Attorney/Activist
  • Alexander Graham Bell
    Scientist and Inventor
  • Booker T. Washington
    Educator and Civil Rights Activist
  • Stephen Sondheim
    Oscar, Tony, Grammy, and Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer and Lyricist
  • Nelson Rockefeller
    Businessman, Philanthropist, U.S. Senator, and 41st U.S. Vice-President
  • Henry Kissinger
    Political Scientist, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 56th U.S. Secretary of State
  • Peyton Manning
    National Football League Quarterback
  • Hugh Downs
    Emmy Award-Winning Broadcast Journalist and Producer
  • John Dewey
    Philosopher and Education Reformer
  • Susan Sontag
    Photographer, Playwright, and National Book Award-Winning Author
  • Rivers Cuomo
    Singer and Guitarist for "Weezer"
  • John Updike
    Novelist, Poet, and Critic of Art and Literature
  • Condoleezza Rice 
    Educator and 66th U.S. Secretary of State
  • Annie Proulx
    National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize Winning Author
  • Carson Kressley 
    Fashion Expert and Critic
  • Julie Taymor
    Emmy and Tony Award Winning Director of Theater, Opera, and Film; Tony Award Winning Costume Designer